Infidelity is always devastating. And yet most couples do survive it.
You can predict those who will. They’re the ones who are willing to work through difficult issues and hurt feelings together.
They’re also willing to be honest — perhaps for the very first time. There’s a risk in that, of course, but really, you’ve got nothing to lose. Because it’s not worth being in a relationship where you can’t be completely open with one another.
Since trust’s been broken, you’ll need to be transparent. Hiding nothing means you’ve nothing to hide. So consider sharing the passwords on your phones, or agreeing to come home earlier, or to being completely open about where you are and who you’re with.
The partner who strayed often insists that you should both ‘get over it’ and ‘move forward.’ But that’s not how it works. You’ll both need time to explore and resolve your problems properly.
You’ll also need to resist the idea of restoring your relationship to ‘like it used to be.’ Because you can’t go back. The old relationship’s gone, and in effect you have to start over. With a different set of expectations and rules. So be open about your concerns, and all the changes you want.
Successful couples also resist blaming. That’s not to condone the cheating, but one way or another, you’ll both have contributed to the problem. So use that mindset to work on things together, and to establish the real root causes of the infidelity.
But make sure you also talk about good things you’ve done together, and the things about each other that you admire. Probably you’ve also said things to one another that have caused immense hurt. So sincerely say sorry to each other for whatever has happened, and look for ways to do better in future. You’ll both need to let go of anger and pain. And to be willing to change and forgive.
Couples who make it through also prioritise communication. Talking about your problems won’t be easy, of course, and you’ll need to work really hard to fix them. And you definitely won’t succeed if the attempt is one sided. So both of you need to make a clear commitment to work together. And to talk together constructively about difficult subjects.
You won’t get back onto solid ground any time soon. So you’ll need to cope with a degree of uncertainty. In the belief that you’ll overcome your problems, even if you can’t immediately see the way forward.
You’ll both need to make changes to your relationship. Like making each other a priority again, or learning time management skills. So appreciate each step you take together in the right direction. Encourage each other to show your real emotions, and to talk about your real feelings. And if any of that seems too difficult, consider getting help from a counsellor. It’s not always necessary. But talking with someone who really understands your situation, can really speed the whole process along.